Can ‘The Outsider’ Stick The Landing?

I have been watching HBO’s The Outsider with cautious optimism. Because while the series is gloriously dark, moody, often chilling, and garnering praise as 2020’s first great TV show, frankly we’ve been here before. Last year’s True Detective Season 3 kicked off 2019 to a similarly strong start before it went out with a solid, if otherwise slow conclusion. The Outsider has nothing to prove as a debut miniseries boasting impressive viewership. But with one episode left in the chamber, can The Outsider succeed where True Detective S3 did not? (Light spoilers below.) Continue reading

‘Adrian vs. the World’ Is Expanding

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m incredibly excited to announce that ‘Adrian vs. the World’ will undergo some major changes this month. Now, I’ve taken a lot of pride in being a movie blogger since this whole thing started. I’m happy to have found my niche, but I’m happier to say that I’m expanding this blog’s writing to topics like television, video games, music, even books— that is, if I ever finish the 3 novels I am currently reading because my attention span suuuuuuuccckks.

I’ve written on all of the above before, but a cursory glance at my last 10 posts will show that my content has been strictly film-based. I’d be lying if I said movies were my only obsession, or the only interest shared among my inner circle. Turns out I’m an even bigger dork than you could possibly imagine. Like, this isn’t even close to my final form!

Why the change? Well, I will be unemployed starting this Friday, but I’m sure that’s got nothing to do with this. 😬 (You don’t understand, I need to keep busy or I’ll turn into Ben Wyatt.)

Truth is, last year I experienced something I never thought was possible for me: movie fatigue. The American Psychiatric Association has yet to respond to my queries, but this was a rare condition where I was simply, utterly uninterested in media following the release of giant IPs like Avengers: Endgame, Joker, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and yes, even Game of Thrones. The coverage and ensuing discourse (myself included) was exhausting to the point that I had to take an unexpected break in movies, and this break allowed for other obsessions to take hold.

My interest in (other) TV shows, music, books, and video games were always there, mind you. But it wasn’t until my little movie sabbatical that I realized how passionate I was in other things, and how much more I had to say. I tinkered with writing game reviews last Fall, which I elected to shelve due to plans of starting a separate gaming blog. Why start another when I’ve got a perfectly functioning one right here? I’m also paying for this domain so…

It’s safe to say video game reviews (along with my first full book review) will be among the new content rolled out this month, and hopefully from here on out! Try not to think of this as a pivot. Though, if this site ever turns into a politics or sports hub then you’ll knowww I’ve sold out.

I’ll of course continue to write about films, that will never change. Movies just won’t be the main focus of ‘Adrian vs. the World’ anymore. I’ve entered a stage in my writing where I’m actively shopping around film essays (which would normally find a home here) as I seek to expand my byline. Any successful publications will be updated on the “Publications” tab above. Who knows, I might even dole out further writing advice for aspiring bloggers and freelancers out there.

My mantra in starting this blog was that as long as one person was reading, I would keep on writing and contributing to this space. Personally, I don’t know why you weirdos have followed me and are still clicking each week or perusing my archives. Nonetheless, I feel very lucky. I’m branching out as a freelancer, but I’ve decided to branch out as a blogger too and thus, I’ll still be here to entertain. Thank you and stay tuned! 🤙

‘Knives Out’ – A Satisfying Whodunnit, A Better Social Satire

To be frank, Rian Johnson feels overqualified for the whodunnit. Known for his subversive-style storytelling, Johnson has a knack for one-upping the genres he’s operating in: Brick, a high school thriller wearing a hardboiled fedora & trench coat; Looper, a time-travel movie more invested in drama than sci-fi; and The Last Jedi, an age-old good vs. evil blockbuster that transcends Chosen One tropes. With Knives Out, Johnson is back in detective mode, but the genre can’t contain his ideas or idiosyncrasies. Knives Out is flesh and blood a murder mystery, but the real hat-trick is that it’s simultaneously a satire that slyly carves its way into the beating political heart of America. Continue reading

‘Crawl’: Draining the Superhero Swamp

January and February are typically months spent catching up on all the movies I’ve missed in the last year. Though I may write and tweet insufferably endlessly about film, I will forever be late to the hype train. Because for each one movie I obsess over, there are 10 others passing below my radar. I recently went HAM on all the sweet Blu-ray deals I could find for myself (as a treat). Among the score was Crawl, a creature-feature & underrated B-movie gem that I sadly skipped in 2019. I wish I hadn’t because holy shit does this movie rule. Continue reading

The Rise of Skywalker and the Limits of J.J. Abrams

For as long as I’ve known him as a moviegoer, J.J. Abrams has done the impossible. He made me a fan of franchises like Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. That may sound hyperbolic considering De Palma’s Mission: Impossible is as iconic as its centerpiece CIA heist sequence, and that Star Trek is as immediately recognizable in geek iconography as the mere parting of your fingers. But I was never a fan of either until Abrams put his stamp on both properties.

J.J. Abrams became THE go-to guy to resuscitate any dormant film franchise, and he’s since gone on to shape the modern blockbuster as we know it like a valiant successor to Spielberg. As a result, Hollywood has entrusted him with the reins of not one but two of its most sacred franchises in Star Trek and Star Wars. Needless to say, it’s been very easy to hop on the J.J. Abrams train. Continue reading